2021 Spain Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Lost among this thrilling battle between Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes and Max Verstappen/Red Bull, is how mind boggling superior they are compared to their respective teammates. It isn't even close.
EVENT: Spain lifted a lockdown the night before the race, so some life in the stands.
TRACK: Circuit de Catalunya truly showed where the teams stand compared to each other.
QUALIFYING: Once again, the first times in Q3 were more important which allowed Hamilton to take his 100th pole, Bottas can't give Lewis a buffer, Perez fails with a sore shoulder, Ocon beats out Alonso once again, Aston Martin is disappointed again, and Tsunoda makes another rookie mistake keeping him in Q1.
RACE: All about strategy while you never knew which one would work and which one would not.
START: Verstappen muscles his way into the lead, Leclerc gets Bottas, Ricciardo and Perez jump two spots while Ocon goes the other way, and everyone stays clean.
HAMILTON: Could any other driver pull off this strategy?
BOTTAS: So now Valtteri is going to get fiesty when allowing Hamilton to pass? If Mercedes wants a fighter as the second driver, at least put in someone who is as fast.
MERCEDES: Let's face it, Mercedes simply has smarter people in all facets of the sport.
VERSTAPPEN: What does Max have to do to win a race?
PEREZ: Sergio is failing where other second Red Bull drivers of the past have failed -- not providing the buffer needed to prevent Mercedes from using alternate strategies.
RED BULL: Perhaps, Max is right. Red Bull just isn't fast enough. At least not in a race distance.
LECLERC: Another brilliant drive.
SAINZ: The results don't fully show it, but Carlos also had a great drive.
FERRARI: This car is getting more and more interesting. So, now is when Ferrari politics screws up the momentum...
RICCIARDO: Did Daniel really beat Norris this time around or was it more a case of better strategy?
NORRIS: Then again, Lando did lose out in qualifying as well.
OCON: Impressive over his teammate. Again.
ALONSO: Everyone keeps talking about whether Vettel is washed up. But what about Fernando? He has now been beat three times in a row by his teammate in qualifying (which has never happened before in his career) and in the race.
VETTEL: Speaking of Sebastian. 13th. Again. Behind Lance Stroll. Again.
GASLY: An inexcusable mistake for an F1 driver to line up on the grid so far beyond his mark.
ALFA ROMEO: Well, that's embarrassing.
TSUNODA: Yuki better be careful. Publicly bashing his team in only his fourth race, especially being part of a driver program run by Dr. Helmut Marko, is not the smartest thing to do.
F3: Juan Manuel Correa may have finished 15th, 9th, and 14th in the opening F3 weekend. However, the American already won the battle of his life just to get back onto the grid 18 months after that horribly tragic F2 crash at Spa in 2019 which nearly cost him his legs, after numerous surgeries, massive physical rehabilitation, and the mental scars of Anthoine Hubert's fatality.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Strategy.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 100 -- Career poles for Lewis Hamilton. It was also the 100th race for Max Verstappen at Red Bull, which all started in Barcelona with a win.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Everyone remembers Max Verstappen's debut with Red Bull was a victory at Spain in 2016 after the Mercedes drivers took each other out on the first lap. But who remembers how Max did in his F1 debut, which was with Toro Rosso at the 2015 Australian GP? He did not make it out of Q2, qualifying 12th, four spots behind his teammate, Carlos Sainz. In the race, engine failure caused him to drop out after 32 laps. But, of course, he did set a record -- the youngest driver to start an F1 race at 17 years, 166 days.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: From Red Bull Racing Honda, "A painful ending."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Lewis Hamilton's race engineer Peter Bonnington prophetically telling his driver, "You've done this before."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: After Hamilton tells his team he might not have any tires left at the end, Bono told him, "He'll have less."
SCHEDULE: What's the over/under for how many times a certain Russian rookie smacks the Monaco walls? What's the over/under for said driver ruining other drivers' lap times? What are the odds his car is in a condition well enough to even start the race?
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